Practices for the football and men’s water polo teams are paused until at least Monday after eight players on those teams tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email sent by USC’s athletic department Wednesday.
All of the student-athletes who tested positive have been isolated. Other players on the teams will take another round of tests this week.
Contact tracing showed that the virus was contracted off campus, “as a result of increased community spread and not via any on-campus or training activities,” according to the announcement.
USC’s athletic department also said it is unlikely that coaches, staff or other student-athletes were exposed due to public health and Pac-12 guidelines that require workouts to take place outdoors and follow a non-contact protocol.
“We have effective mitigation strategies in place,”USC athletic director Mike Bohn said in the email. “But out of an abundance of caution we are pausing athletics activities in football and men’s water polo while we await additional test results and USC completes the contact tracing process.”
This is the first example of USC student-athletes testing positive in three weeks. Of the 654 tests administered to players participating in on-campus workouts from July 18 to Aug. 21, only one resulted in a positive test.
The news comes two days after the university issued a statement noting “an alarming increase” in the number of students in off-campus housing who tested positive during the first week of classes. USC Student Health also reported the first on-campus COVID-19 cases on Wednesday in an email to students living in USC Housing.